Ranieri’s Leicester story ends in Seville

Sevilla 2:1 Leicester City

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A creditable 2:1 defeat against Sevilla at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán on Wednesday night proved to be Claudio Ranieri’s final game in charge of Leicester City…

Ranieri made one change to the line-up that lost at Swansea, with Musa in for Gray, as they faced the Europa League holders in a full and noisy stadium.
Sevilla had the early possession, and the first shot on goal, but Sarabia sent his dipping effort just over from distance.
Soon after this City almost had a disaster when Fuchs nodded the ball back to Schmeichel who wasn’t expecting it and required a sharp change of direction to save.
Jovetic then went close with an effort, before the home side were awarded a 13th minute penalty when Morgan lunged in on Correa with a lumbering challenge.
Correa didn’t connect well from 12 yards and Schmeichel changed direction again to save down to his right.
City had a decent spell of attacking after this let off, but couldn’t find a way through and then Sevilla regained their dominance. Correa delivered a low ball to Escudero but Schmeichel produced a fine save to block his shot.
Sevilla took a lead that reflected the run of play in the 25th minute when Escudero crossed from the left and Sarabia, lurking beyond the far post, nodded a fine header past Schmeichel.
Sevilla’s tails were up now and a minute later Schmeichel had to deal with a horrible looping deflection as a Jovetic shot hit Huth on the back.
Schmeichel then made another save from Sarabia, before a scramble in the area was finally cleared.
City were struggling to put any kind of move together at this point and were battling just to keep the scoreline as it was up to the break.
Schmeichel’s defiance in goal continued as he got down well to his right to block a low goalbound Correa shot, and City, while very much second best, had prevented the Sevilla goal fest that many had predicted by half time.

City looked better immediately after the break. Musa and Ndidi both had shots on goal and Mahrez had his first decent run down the right, but a very narrow squeak followed.
Nasri sent Vitolo in down the left, and although his shot beat Schmeichel at his near post from a tight angle, the ball struck the foot of the post and rolled across an empty goalmouth. At the other end, a deflected Drinkwater shot went close.
The tie threatened to go out of City’s reach when Sevilla went further ahead in the 62nd minute. Jovetic controlled a long ball in the area and Huth and Morgan both tried to block him, leaving Correa unmarked to fire the ball home and send the home fans into a frenzy.
City desperately needed an away goal to keep their hopes alive, and that was what they got in the 73rd minute. Gray sent Drinkwater in down the left and his low cross was met by Vardy in middle to give City a priceless away goal.

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“We’ve scored a goal!” was the chant from the Leicester corner, before the celebrations sparked a baton charge by police who had been itching to have a go at the slightest excuse. City continued to press forward, Gray went on a couple of good runs down the right, Vardy had an angled drive blocked, and Escudero had to take a yellow card to prevent Mahrez from breaking through.
It was a more even contest now, and while Rami sent a header onto the crossbar, City continued to threaten and Carrico became the next player in the book for a foul on Mahrez.
The final whistle heralded a defeat for City, but it certainly didn’t feel like one, with the tie very much alive going into the second leg at the King Power.
The atmosphere in the away corner was bouyant as the City fans were kept back for twenty minutes, but that would be punctured by the news that filtered through the next day.
Claudio Ranieri, the man who had led City to the Premier League title and a place in the knockout stages of the Champions League, would not be in charge of the side for the second leg. Three weeks after a ringing vote of confidence, the owners had sacked him.

Ranieri responded with a heart-breaking quote that showed the class, warmth and dignity of the man.

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Sevilla: Sergio Rico, Rami, Lenglet (Carrico 55), Escudero, Mariano, Nzonzi, Sarabia, Nasri, Vitolo, Jovetic, Correa (Iborra 63). Subs Not Used: Soria, Kranevitter, Vietto, Ben Yedder, Vazquez.
Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Morgan, Huth, Fuchs, Albrighton (Amartey 87), Drinkwater, Ndidi, Mahrez, Musa (Gray 57), Vardy. Subs Not Used: Zieler, Chilwell, King, Okazaki, Benalouane.

Referee: C Turpin. Attendance: 38,834 

 

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Ten man Millwall dump Leicester out of the Cup

Millwall 1:0 Leicester City

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League One Millwall added another Premier League scalp to their FA Cup collection on Saturday at the Den, out-fighting a limp Leicester side despite going down to 10 men…

Claudio Ranieri made ten changes to the side that lost at Swansea, with Wagué making his debut, and for the first half hour they dominated the side two divisions below them.
The first real chance came in the 10th minute when Kapustka lobbed a ball to Gray, cutting in from the left, but his attempted curler flew wide.
A procession of chances followed with City in complete charge, but none of them found the net. Musa sliced one wide, and Okazaki had an effort blocked, before Archer parried Okazaki’s near post header from a corner.
Musa then fired a low 22 yarder narrowly wide of the right hand post, and Okazaki had a shot well smothered by Archer.
Having failed to capitalise on their best spell, City then had some defending to do as the Lions came into the game towards the break winning a series of corners and Zieler was called into action, saving a  Butcher header. Following another Zieler save just before the break Cooper slid in and fouled the City keeper, who had both hands on the ball, causing a flare up in the goalmouth and earning himself a yellow card.

Seven minutes into the second half Cooper sent Musa flying with a late challenge and Craig Pawson had no option but to show him a second yellow card. This proved to be a major turning point in the game, but not in the way City would have hoped. Being reduced to ten men seemed to strenghten the Lions resolve and City lost the upper hand.
Onyedinma threatened on the edge of the area and Zieler was booked for handling outside. Kapustka then sent an ambitious overhead kick wide, before being replaced by Albrighton.
City then had to make another change in the 70th minute when Wagué’s decent debut ended with what looked like a dislocated shoulder, Wasilewski replacing him in defence.
Gray had a shot blocked before being replaced by Vardy with fifteen minutes left.

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City’s gilt-edged chance to win the tie arrived in the 80th minute. Albrighton’s cross from the right was nodded on by Vardy into the path of Okazaki, three yards out and with only the keeper to beat. But he appeared to hesitate before pulling the trigger and Archer made a fine block. Mendy was first to the loose ball but his effort sailed off target.
Archer was in action again moments later when Okazaki’s cross was deflected towards goal, but the Millwall keeper managed to paw it away.
Having wasted so many chances, City were made to pay when Millwall took the lead as the game moved into injury time.
Gregory chested down a pass on the edge of the area and slipped a ball through to Cummings, who prodded the ball past Zieler despite three defenders being in close attendance.
It was perhaps the lowest moment of a season that has had no shortage of bad times, and a chance to progress into the quarter finals had been squandered against a side who simply had more heart for the battle.
The final whistle saw riotous scenes of celebration, that then turned into an assault on the away stand, though the thin flourescent line, bolstered with four horses, managed to hold.
Claudio Ranieri cut a forlorn figure after the game: “I am very disappointed. We played well in the first half, so-so at the beginning of the second until it went to 10 v 11. After then they played better than us, with more desire and heart and deserved to win.”

Millwall: Archer, Cummings, Webster, Cooper, Craig, O’Brien (Gregory 79), Butcher (Abdou 75), Williams, Ferguson (Romeo 86), Onyedinma, Morison. Subs Not Used: Hutchinson, Worrall, Smith, King. 
Leicester: Zieler, Amartey, Wagué (Wasilewskiat 70), Benalouane, Chilwell, King, Mendy, Musa, Kapustka (Albrighton 64), Gray (Vardy 73), Okazaki. Subs Not Used: Hamer, Ndidi, Mahrez, Fuchs. 

Referee: C Pawson. Attendance: 18,012.

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We are simple folk here at Fox Towers, we have previously only offered a season subscription to the fanzine. But now we have decided to offer a further option of a year long subscription so you can hop on at any time, starting with the current issue and renewing a year later. 

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For just £16.95 you will receive every issue of The FOX for twelve months, including the Summer Special, posted out to you on publication day.

If you subscribe now, FOX 202 will be posted to you straight away, and you will also receive a free set of City postcards.

You can pay online via Paypal HERE  (UK price)

Or send a cheque to:
The FOX,
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Littlethorpe,
LEICESTER,
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Annual subscription to EUROPE is £26.00: HERE

Annual subscription to REST OF WORLD is £32.00: HERE

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THE FOX – THIRTY YEARS, AND WE’RE STILL HERE 

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Annual FOX Subscriptions now available

We are simple folk here at Fox Towers, we have previously only offered a season subscription to the fanzine. But now we have decided to offer a further option of a year long subscription so you can hop on at any time, starting with the current issue and renewing a year later. 

postie-frank

For just £16.95 you will receive every issue of The FOX for twelve months, including the Summer Special, posted out to you on publication day.

If you subscribe now, FOX 202 will be posted to you straight away, and you will also receive a free set of City postcards.

You can pay online via Paypal HERE  (UK price)

Or send a cheque to:
The FOX,
22 Cosby Road,
Littlethorpe,
LEICESTER,
LE19 2HF

Annual subscription to EUROPE is £26.00: HERE

Annual subscription to REST OF WORLD is £32.00: HERE

202-cover

THE FOX – THIRTY YEARS, AND WE’RE STILL HERE 

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Toothless Foxes seen off by Swans

Swansea City 2:0 Leicester City

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Leicester plumbed new depths in their nightmare start to 2017, going down 2-0 to Swansea at the Liberty Stadium on Sunday evening…

Claudio Ranieri made two changes from the last Premier League outing, with Gray and Albrighton in for Musa and Okazaki, against a resurgent Swansea side.
Swansea applied some early pressure with a free-kick and a couple of corners, during which former City-loanee Dyer had to limp out of the action.
City hit the Swans on the break a couple of times, but an Ndidi shot was blocked and Mawson intercepted a dangerous Vardy ball to Gray.
City were chasing down well at the midway stage of the half and Vardy and Gray both had shots blocked. But the home side began to press as half time approached.
Schmeichel produced a fine save to block a Routledge volley and then Sigurdsson sent a long range effort narrowly wide.

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Swansea broke the deadlock in the 36th minute. A free-kick from the centre-circle was launched forward, Huth got his head to the ball, but Fernandez immediately returned it into the the penalty area and an unmarked Mawson fired a thumping volley home.
This was bad news for a side who hadn’t scored a Premier League goal since New Years Eve, and things got worse in first half time-added-on.
Sigurdsson’s incisive ball set up Olsson on the left for a fierce shot that beat Schmeichel at his near post.

The second half began with Slimani and Chilwell on for Albrighton and Fuchs.
City still looked very subdued however, and Schmeichel had to be alert to save another long range shot from Sigurdsson.
City finally carved out a chance in the 63rd minute when Mahrez sent Slimani in on goal, but he couldn’t beat Fabianski who had come swiftly off his line to meet him.

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City pressed forward again, and good work from Gray saw the ball delivered into the box, but after some pinball, Ndidi fired a shot well over.
Time was running out for a City comeback and when a decent move involving Ndidi and Slimani teed up Vardy, he sliced his shot as the defenders closed in.

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The last faltering attempts to get forward came to nothing and City had lost their fifth league game in a row, failing to score in over ten hours hours of play.
Without dropping into the relegation zone, City are now in serious danger of relegation and something has to change.
Claudio Ranieri hinted that could now happen: “Of course I must change something because it is not possible to continue in this way.
It is difficult when you achieve something so good you want to give them one chance, two chances, three chances. Maybe now it is too much.”

Swansea: Fabianski, Naughton, Fernandez, Mawson, Olsson, Fer, Cork, Carroll, Dyer (Routledge 7), Llorente (Ayew 72), Sigurdsson, Routledge (Narsingh 89). Subs Not Used: Amat, Nordfeldt, Rangel, Kingsley.
Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson (Amartey 70), Morgan, Huth, Fuchs (Chilwell 46), Mahrez, Drinkwater, Ndidi, Albrighton (Slimani 46), Gray, Vardy. Subs Not Used: Musa, King, Okazaki, Zieler.

Referee: J Moss. Attendance: 20,391. 

———————————————————————
The Champions cards that we produced to celebrate City’s greatest achievment in the
history of all sport, ever, have now sold out. But do not despair if you didn’t manage to lay your hands on a set. We have now made them available as an A4 sized print which you can have either framed, or the print on its own to frame yourself…frame
The framed print costs £11.80 inc postage — pay via Paypal HERE
while the unframed one is £6.50 inc postage — pay via paypal HERE 
or send a cheque or cash to our new address:
The FOX,
22 Cosby Road,
Littlethorpe,
LEICESTER
LE19 2HF.

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Leicester into the 5th round after finally seeing off Rams

Leicester City 3:1 Derby County aet

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City managed a morale boosting victory against Derby in this FA Cup 4th round replay at the KPS on Wednesday night, although the Championship side took the tie to extra time…

Claudio Ranieri made ten changes to his side, and Steve McClaren eight, showing that neither club considered the FA Cup a priority, but they eventually served up a highly entertaining game.
The first half did little to warm an admirably large crowd on a freezing night.
In the early exchanges, Gray crossed for Amartey to nod over the bar, and Anya skinned Wasilewski down the left but his cross was too high for Blackman.
Johnson then put Zieler under pressure from a high ball, but it bounced off the Derby man for a goal kick.
The game settled into a stalemate for a while, with City looking to hit the Rams on the break and Gray sent Musa into the area where he was bundled over by Shackell. There were loud appeals, but it didn’t quite look like a penalty.
City began to get the upper hand towards the break as an unfamiliar line-up got better acquainted. Gray was having a fine game and his low cross from the right following a great run, should have seen Musa sidefoot City ahead from close range, but he was slow to react.
There were more loud calls for a penalty five minutes before the break, when Chelwell was shoved in the back by Keogh, but referee Mike Jones waved play on again.
Derby had the final word in the first half with Butterfield forcing a save from Zieler, but De Sart wasted a good chance from the resulting corner, sending a mis-hit shot spinnng into the Kop Stand.

The deadlock was broken a minute after the break. Gray delivered a superb cross from the left, Albrighton nodded it back from just beyond the far post, and King headed home from point blank range. It was the lift that City needed and was greeted with a huge roar.
Derby were then awarded a free-kick on the edge of the area after a ball-winning challenge on Blackman by the impressive Benalouane, but Camara’s free kick was punched away by Zieler.
Five minutes later the visitors were awarded another free kick in a similar position when Albrighton was judged to have waved his foot too close to Butterfield’s head.
This time Camara’s shot looked to be covered by Zieler, but a big deflection off Chilwell in the wall left the German keeper stranded and the Rams were back in the game, to the delight of their large following.
Both sides were keen to avoid extra time and the action was end to end for a while.
Ranieri brought Mahrez on for Kapustka, who’d had a decent debut, while Nugent was given a good reception by the home crowd when he replaced Blackman.
With six minutes remaining, the ref got another big decision wrong. Musa raced after a ball down the right and Mitchell came out to meet him. Musa got to the ball first but his touch was clearly handled by the Rams keeper outside the area. It should have been a red card, but instead it was Musa who was shown yellow for his outraged reaction.
City were attacking in waves now, and there was another scare for Derby with a minute to go when Musa’s cross from the left was chested against the right hand post by Lowe as he attempted to shepherd the ball out for a corner.

Derby survived City’s late attacking spell, but fell behind four minutes into extra time in spectacular fashion. Mahrez threaded a fine ball through to substitute Ndidi, who strode down the middle before unleashing a 25 yard rocket in off the right hand post for his first goal for the club.
The other 90th minute sub didn’t fare so well soon afterwards, when Gray’s low cross saw Slimani unbalanced and unable to take the tap in that had been presented to him.
Derby were still battling and Russell headed narrowly wide from a Christie cross, but City were controlling the play and seeing plenty of the ball. King forced a good save from Mitchell who tipped his top corner effort round the post.
With 114 minutes on the clock, City finally settled this epic cup tie with a superb goal. Gray cut in from the left flank into the area, and wriggled past Keogh and Vydra before despatching the ball across Mitchell into the top right hand corner.
There was no way back for Derby, and City had a date with Millwall in the fifth round after a night that had lifted the mood around the club.

Claudio Ranieri’s gamble had paid off: “Derby played good football and we won. This is what we needed and I wanted. We want to do well in all competitions. We want to go forward in the FA Cup. The Premier League is not so good but we have to stay in the Premier League. This fresh air is good for the players.”

Leicester: Zieler, Amartey, Wasilewski, Benalouane, Chilwell, Mendy (Ndidi 90), King, Albrighton, Kapustka (Mahrez 81), Gray, Musa (Slimani 90). Subs Not Used: Drinkwater, Hamer, Okazaki, Fuchs.
Derby: Mitchell, Christie, Keogh, Shackell, Lowe, de Sart, Butterfield, Johnson (Vydra 53), Camara (Russell 74), Blackman (Nugent 82), Anya. Subs Not Used: Carson, Ince, Baird, Pearce.

Referee: M Jones. Attendance: 31, 648.

———————————————————————
The Champions cards that we produced to celebrate City’s greatest achievment in the
history of all sport, ever, have now sold out. But do not despair if you didn’t manage to lay your hands on a set. We have now made them available as an A4 sized print which you can have either framed, or the print on its own to frame yourself…frame
The framed print costs £11.80 inc postage — pay via Paypal HERE
while the unframed one is £6.50 inc postage — pay via paypal HERE 
or send a cheque or cash to our new address:
The FOX,
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Littlethorpe,
LEICESTER
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The FOX Issue No 202 – in the shops and on sale today

The 202nd edition of The FOX – The Leicester City Fanzine will be on sale before this evening’s game against Derby…

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Featuring: an interview with former City striker, Steve Howard; Shinji in the Fox Gallery; Fully Programmed from February 1996; Fox Diary – it’s all gone a bit wrong; the latest from the Foxes Trust; BBC Sports Personality of the year via the medium of #lcfc Twitter; The History of Leicester City in 100 Objects; Rewind goes back to August 1993; Foxed in the Head – TV clashes, Trips to Wolves and Porto, and forgotten players; John Hutchinson’s series on Following the Fosse tracks all the club’s former offices around Leicester; your letters and Bentley’s Roof; Parting Shots our favourite photos of the last month; and Frank’s Check-a-trade trip to Cheltenham…

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all for less than the price of a pint…

Steve Howard Interview extract…

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FOX: Although it was new to the fans and most of the players, you had some experience at League One level, did that stand you in good stead? 

SH: Although Matty was the captain that season, and was good at it, I also tried to play a leading role on the pitch and in the dressing room. I would say to the lads in the dressing room, “Look it’s one season, that’s all it is. Let’s get out of this league.”
Some of the places were a culture shock for them. Southend, before they got there new changing rooms. Eighteen lads are trying to get changed in this cupboard and are going “What the …?”
And I was saying, “Just get on with it.”
It was a great season. We did what was expected of us.

FOX: Some big clubs took the drop down there around that time, like Forest and Leeds, and they didn’t come straight back…why did Leicester win the league with a bit to spare?

SH: I think our circumstances didn’t really change. There was a bit of money around and they had decent facilities. When Leeds went down they were in a mess and players weren’t getting paid some weeks. Leicester were stable and basically a good club. You felt special walking in the door, like I did at Derby. I loved being a Leicester player.

 

———————————————————————
The Champions cards that we produced to celebrate City’s greatest achievment in the
history of all sport, ever, have now sold out. But do not despair if you didn’t manage to lay your hands on a set. We have now made them available as an A4 sized print which you can have either framed, or the print on its own to frame yourself…frame
The framed print costs £11.80 inc postage — pay via Paypal HERE
while the unframed one is £6.50 inc postage — pay via paypal HERE 
or send a cheque or cash to our new address:
The FOX,
22 Cosby Road,
Littlethorpe,
LEICESTER
LE19 2HF.

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‘Embarrassing’ Leicester collapse against Manchester United

Leicester City 0:3 Manchester United

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Three goals in eight minutes, either side of the break, were enough to see City buried by United at the KPS on Sunday evening…

Claudio Ranieri made two changes to his side, with Musa and Okazaki in for Gray and Albrighton, and City got off to a decent start.
City probed United’s defence with free-kicks and corners, but United had the first shot on target when Rojo curled an effort straight at Schmeichel.
Vardy then sent Musa into the area, but Bailly produced a fine tackle to deny him a shot on goal.
At the other end Mkhitaryan teed up Rashford, but the youngster fired a hurried over from a good position.
Mata was very lucky not to see red for a two footed and late challenge that sent Vardy spinning through the air on 28 minutes, and United had gradually taken control of the game.
In the 35th minute an Ibrahimovic turn set up Pogba, who fed Rashford in the area. Schmeichel got down smartly to his low shot and turned round the foot of the post.
It was all United now, but any hopes that City could make it to the break on level terms were cruelly dashed.
In the 42nd minute Mkhitaryan knocked the ball round Huth on the halfway line and sprinted for goal, outpacing Morgan and angling a shot in off Schmeichel’s right knee.
If this was a big blow for City, then worse was to follow just over a minute later.
Valencia’s low cross from the right, found Ibrahimovic unmarked and he side-footed past Schmeichel from the penalty spot.
Just before the break Okazaki had a shot blocked by Pogba, but Ndidi’s well-struck follow up was too close to de Gea to trouble him.

It was difficult to see a way back for a side that hadn’t scored a league goal in 2017, and things got worse early in the second half.
City, with King and Gray on for Musa and Okazaki, were defeated by the 49th minute.
Mata and Mkhitaryan combined well in the box to unzip City’s defence with ease and Mata prodded the ball under Schmeichel from close range, putting the game to bed.

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It was damage limitation now, and Schmeichel got down well to an angled drive from Rashford.
City spent the rest of the game chasing shadows, a Mahrez free-kick into the sidenetting being the closest they came to a consolation goal.
The only other incidents involved bookings to Herrera, Pogba, Valencia and de Gea, as United showed a level of commitment that had long deserted City.
Schmeichel produced a fine save late on to deny Pogba and he was one of the few City players who deserved any credit on the night.
The City keeper was brutally honest after the game:
“Let’s not talk about last season. It’s gone. There are a lot of factors that go into it but this season has not been good right from the start. We are a group of players low on confidence but not low on fight. It is not a comfortable situation. It has been terrible, embarrassing. It is time for each one of us – from the top to the bottom of this club – to stand up and be counted. If we don’t, we will be relegated.”

Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Morgan, Huth, Fuchs, Drinkwater, Ndidi, Mahrez, Okazaki (Gray 46), Musa (King 46), Vardy. Subs Not Used: Chilwell, Albrighton, Kapustka, Zieler, Benalouane.
United: de Gea, Valencia, Bailly, Smalling, Rojo (Blind 46), Mata (Fellaini 77), Ander Herrera, Pogba, Mkhitaryan, Rashford (Young 83), Ibrahimovic. Subs Not Used: Martial, Lingard, Carrick, Romero.

Referee: A Taylor. Attendance: 32,072. 

————————————————

The Champions cards that we produced to celebrate City’s greatest achievment in the
history of all sport, ever, have now sold out. But do not despair if you didn’t manage to lay your hands on a set. We have now made them available as an A4 sized print which you can have either framed, or the print on its own to frame yourself…frame
The framed print costs £11.80 inc postage — pay via Paypal HERE
while the unframed one is £6.50 inc postage — pay via paypal HERE 
or send a cheque or cash to our new address:
The FOX,
22 Cosby Road,
Littlethorpe,
LEICESTER
LE19 2HF.

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